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Autism ETC’s Social Skills Group

March marks one year since the launch of our Social Skills Group Program at our Nashville location. The program has been successful in helping clients transition to the social world. Three families who participate in the program share the differences it has made in their lives.

Nicholas Brantley:

Nicholas’ mom, Tiffany Brantley, was eager to tell Nicholas’ story. As a toddler, Nicholas didn’t make eye contact during conversations & struggled to understand social cues. He struggled with subtle forms of communication, like body language & personal space. While hesitant, Tiffany decided to get him tested, and at 4 years old, Nicholas was diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, and ODD.

Nicholas was going to speech, occupational, & ABA therapy, but was still having trouble making friends. His family says when they took him to the playground, he would try to take over. When the other children didn’t do exactly what he wanted, Nicholas became disinterested in playing.

“He wanted to make friends and engage, but he didn’t know how. As a result, he became depressed and showed signs of low self-esteem,” said Tiffany.

They decided to get him re-evaluated. The results showed he had a Social Development Disorder. They knew they had to find other forms of help, so they sought out Autism ETC. In July 2023, Nicholas started attending the Social Skills Group. Now, at age 10, he has made great improvements.

Tiffany says, “We’ve noticed various uplifting changes, including Nicholas having a best friend, getting invitations to parties and sleepovers, being able to have two-way conversations, & glowing with self-confidence. He is learning that you must show interest in others to have friends, it’s not all about you.”

Tiffany says Nicholas is now the one reminding her it’s time to go to the Social Skills Group.

“I would not trade this opportunity for the world because it’s been an empowering positive experience for my entire family.”

Carson Knight:

Prior to going to the Social Skills Group, if you asked Carson Knight how he was doing, he would simply say, “Good.” He struggled expressing emotions and had a hard time making friends.

Carson started attending the Social Skills Group in June 2023, just three months after receiving his Autism diagnosis. His mother, Adoria Smith, says it’s exactly what Carson needed.

“He would not understand what was going on. The only response he used was ‘good’ or ‘okay’ or he would shift the conversation to what he wanted to talk about.”

Since Carson started coming to the group, he’s learned to listen more and is making friends.

“Now he can tell you what his friends like and dislike. Carson thought that if a friend did not want to play with him, the child was no longer his friend. At first, he struggled to determine who was and who was not a good friend. He has learned the difference. I am so happy to see his progress.”

Brooklyn Hooks:

Brooklyn was diagnosed with Autism at just 6 years old. She started coming to Autism ETC a year later, and eventually joined the Social Skills Group at the age of 9 in June 2023.

“Brooklyn had anxiety being around groups. She had a hard time being herself, and had difficulty creating friendships because she lacked confidence,” said her mother, Lakeysha Hooks.

Since being in the Social Skills Group, Brooklyn has gained confidence, knows how to hold better conversations, and has learned how to express herself.

Lakeysha says, “She understands how to ask for space when she needs it. Brooklyn is also learning how to end conversations. I see the difference in her.”

At Autism ETC, we are excited about the impact the social skills group program has had on these kids and all the participants. If you are interested in seeing if there is an opening for your child, please contact our office at 615-376-0034.